It seems like these days, practically everyone is on the go, all day long. Whether you’re an office professional working the 9-to-5 grind or a student spending long hours in the library, it’s all too easy to overlook healthy eating in favor of the vending machine or local pizza joint. Here’s the good news: With some planning and a few new habits, you can incorporate the below tips into your routine and help yourself make healthy choices all throughout your busy day.
- Power through with protein. Protein-rich meals and snacks will help you stay full for longer throughout the day, making you less likely to give in to those doughnuts your coworker brought into the office. When you begin to digest protein, it actually sends a “full” signal to your brain and curbs your appetite – whereas unhealthy snacks like chips or candy bars send spikes of sugar into your bloodstream and can actually make you hungrier. Almonds, hard-boiled eggs, and Greek yogurt are all great foods to reach for when that mid-afternoon snack urge hits!
- Stay hydrated. If you’re on the go all day long, it can be easy to forget those 8 daily glasses of water (you know, the ones we’re all supposed to be drinking…). But the same part of your brain (the hypothalamus) controls both appetite and thirst – so when you’re dehydrated, your body can get confused and mistake that feeling for hunger. To avoid this, try adding a glass of water to your normal coffee routine or buying a reusable bottle to keep at your desk. Sipping on water throughout the day will help keep your body hydrated and reduce those fake “hunger” pangs.
- Brown-bag it. Packing your own meals and snacks allows you to make healthy choices ahead of time. Make it an evening routine to put together some food for the next day; you can get a small, insulated lunchbag to keep things like yogurt or cheese fresh if you won’t have access to a fridge. When you have food readily available, you won’t be tempted to indulge in unhealthy options that are quick and convenient – your coworkers might miss you on the daily noontime fast-food-joint runs, but your body (and wallet!) will thank you.
- Avoid sugar. As tantalizing as that mid-day soda might be, snacking on high-sugar foods can lead to a crash as your blood sugar spikes, then drops, feeling you drained and sluggish. Rather than reaching for a chocolate bar, if you’re craving something sweet try some fresh fruit – a handful of raspberries or a banana will give you that sweet taste, plus the sugar will be natural and you’ll get bonus nutrients and fiber!
- Eat often. Waiting long stretches of time between meals can make you ravenous and more likely to crave fatty, calorie-dense foods. To beat this instinct, try eating small meals every 3-4 hours. Staying moderately full will give you the presence of mind to continually make smart decisions about what to eat so you can properly nourish your body.
By making these changes, you can stick to – and even enjoy! – a healthy diet even on your busiest day. Fueling your body with the right foods will help you stay sharp, energetic and on top of your game all week long.
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